I had dressed ready to spend the day at the pool, after a few detours: I hadn't tackled the rock wall yet, and I had a bit of shopping I wanted to finish. Flar went with me to the rock wall with his trusty camcorder. A family had just gotten there, so I settled back to watch before I signed up for the climb. The first to attempt the wall was a teenager, who couldn't quite hang on tight enough with his hands to find higher grips for his toes. Uh oh. The more I watched him struggle, the more I questioned my ability to tackle the wall. He actually gave up, and then his father had a go at it. He made it all the way to the top and rang the bell, but when he got done, he was sweating and commenting on what a work-out it was. This was a guy who was lean, and obviously in good physical condition. That's when I decided that the rock wall would be something for me to tackle on the next cruise.
Aside from my not-so-stellar hand strength, the other reason I wimped out was the after-effects of the volcano. Wednesday night, I was mostly foot sore, and the oil and gel took away the pain. Thursday morning, I woke up with very stiff quads and pecs from my exertions, and I was still feeling the burn this morning. I actually had rubbery legs, as my left quad would threaten to fold up my leg for me when I put weight on it. I'm slowly walking it out, but elevators were definitely my friend today.
Flar was really sweet about me wimping out on the wall. He went poolside to find a nice place to sit, and I went on my other errands. The most important was gathering up Norwegian Pearl souvenirs in the shop. I took those on up to the room, then met Flar poolside. He had put his stuff at a table in the shade, and he was dangling his feet in one of the pools. I joined him in the pool, after adding my stuff to the table. I tread water and paddled about at his feet. It felt wonderful. Eventually we moved to the tble for drinks, and when lunch was served I helped myself to a hamburger.
Flar decided he didn't like his suit clinging to him, so we went back up to the room. I got my book, and showed him the souvenirs that I'd found, then decided to get a dry change of clothes for the afternoon, so I wouldn't have to head back to the room. Flar changed out of his suit, and then returned to the pool. He sat in the shade for a bit, while I splashed in the water and read in the jacuzzi awhile. When I got out of the jacuzzi to lay out in the shade, I meandered over to Flar's seat and got him to stand up and hold my hands while I danced to the Calypso beat. It's our version of dancing together, since he generally doesn't like to dance these days. But he humored me, and then went off to have his own fun on the ship while I spent more time poolside.
I alternated between reading, and dancing behind the bandstand. The bandstand backs up to the overflow tiling of one of the pools. They keep enough water in the pool that the overflow tiling is covered with about 2 inches of water, which is perfect for sloshing through while dancing. When the Calypso Band took a break, it was time for pool games. Only this game wasn't in the pool, it was poolside, and involved clapping in a circle. The idea was to clap, then point to someone else in the circle, who would clap and point, etc. We practiced a few rounds, then he started eliminated people who missed their cue. Then he added in counting. It turns out counting to 10 is a lot harder when you're already concentrating on looking for your cue and clapping, etc. It was lots of fun, and I stayed in until there were four of us, so that felt pretty great. Interestingly, the two winners were one of the youngest and one of the oldest.
There are a lot of retired folk who cruise, so the average age, especially on a long cruise, is kinda up there. I actually find it kind of encouraging, because we saw lots and lots of people in their later years being very active and alert and involved. It's a pretty uplifting view of the future, looking from my "young" 48 years. :)
I stayed at the pool another half an hour, then I went up to the Spinnaker Lounge for a question and answer session with Sharkbait. I got there early, so the Country Line Dancing class was still going on. They had just finished one dance, so I watched them all learn, and then dance to, a Canadian stomping song. When the next dance was announced as NCL's version of the Cotton Eyed Joe, I decided to join in. The dance was similar, but there was no kick and familiar yell.
Sharkbait are the juggling team that added the greatest fun energy to the entertainment lineup. The question and answer session was intended to be able Clown College and the circus, but they pretty much fielded any questions thrown at them. After the talk, I bought some juggling balls -- which are way easier than socks. I'm getting pretty good at two; I need to get my "stupid sissy hand" throwing more accurately, then I think I'll be ready to add the third ball. :)
The Q&A ran long, so I missed the Crew Talent Show. Instead I meandered by the half-price sale for jewelry and found a tiny pair of emerald studs that I could actually afford. Woot! And Flar was pleased and everything. :) When I was entering stuff in my calendar last night, I included "Find Star Bar" and "Find Shabu Shabu." I was determined to have seen everything there was on the ship. It turns out that the Star Bar is the bar outside Cagney's, also known as the Concierge Lounge. I finally asked at the dining reservations desk about Shabu Shabu. It turns out that Shabu Shabu is a style of cooking. The Asian fusion restaurant, Lotus Garden has a few tables with cooking elements built into the center, for Mongolian Hot Pots, which are kind of an asian fondue.
We decided to got to an early dinner at Shabu Shabu, then go to the Comedy show. Shabu Shabu is a sort of drawn out affair, so we missed the early show. The food was delicious, and I even found a kind of sashimi that I like: fruit sashimi, served for dessert. It's thinly sliced fruit, served with a mango sauce and coconut syrup for dipping. I liked it so much that asked for seconds.
Since we missed the early show, we had time to start our packing before leaving for the late show. Flar directed me, while I packed. We never argued about where anything would go, just kind of talked through what we'd be using in South Beach, and what could be checked. We're staying one night in the hotel before flying home, and we wanted to reduce the number of bags that we open in the hotel to a minimum.
The show tonight was James Stevens III, a very talented man. His act was part stand-up, part impersonator, part musical. He heckled late-comers, interacted with the most of the front row, and pulled a couple of guys up on stage with him. He sang, he played the piano, and he alternately made us laugh and amazed us with his broad range of musical repertoire. He raises money to provide laptops and other educational aid to disadvantaged kids, and I was going to just donate some toward that, but I decided I really wanted to get a copy of his DVD (all proceeds go to the money raising). He is also a minister, who led services the last couple of days. Which explains why I didn't notice church services in the morning before he got on the ship. :)
After we got back from the show, Flar helped lead me through packing all the rest of our stuff, and we got our bags out into the hall before the deadline. They move luggage all night - they don't wait until the 2am deadline to start. I had put three suitcases in the hall, and when I came out with the fourth, two of them were already gone. I looked down the hallway, and there he was - the suitcase fairy, carting away our suitcases. :)
Sleep time. Tomorrow we dock in Miami and find our way to South Beach.